Author: Stefan Riemens

Faking VR for fun and profit

As a developer, you’ll (hopefully) want your products to be VR compatible. To do so, you can of course use a real headset. If the need for debugging arises, that may not be very practical.

So, here’s how to fake VR in X-Plane:

  • For starters, you’ll want to bind a key combination to the “Toggle the 3-d mouse cursor in VR” command. This can be done in Settings -> Keyboard, and will allow you to switch between using the mouse in VR, and in the normal window to exit VR mode. It can by quite hard to get out of VR mode without this shortcut.
  • Start X-Plane with the --fake_vr command line argument (see “Using the Command Line Options” if unsure how to do that).
  • In the Settings menu, the VR options should now be enabled. When checking the “Enable VR Hardware” checkbox, the left-eye view will be rendered in the X-Plane window.

There are a couple of noteworthy things to keep in mind when using this. Let me start with the good news: this also works on Mac! On to the bad news… this is very much in the category of “nasty hacks”, which means:

  • Quite a number of rendering artifacts when faking VR, but it should be good enough for testing out things like user interfaces and the like.
  • No support for VR controllers
  • …or even for actually moving the fake headset about 🙁
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